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Get to the beach early

This weekend is going to be a scorcher, which means people are going to be looking for water.

If going to the beach sounds good, then it’s best to get there early before the parking lots fill up.

Alma Holmes, the manager of Beltzville State Park, warns patrons that the Franklin Township Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police have ticketed and towed vehicles in the past that are parked along Pohopoco Drive or the side roads.

Holmes recommends going to a different area state park, if Beltzville is full.

Many other state parks also have sand beaches, such as nearby Hickory Run, Locust Lake, Tuscarora and the county park Mauch Chunk. A little further north is Tobyhanna State Park and its neighbor Gouldsboro. To the east is Promised Land State Park and Lake Wallenpaupack, which isn’t a state park but does have swimming.

If the beaches are full, on a cooler day she also recommends going for a walk.

“Take a hike in the woods,” she said. “It’s like 10 degrees cooler in there, and we have 15 miles of trails.”

Some of these trails wind near a waterfall near Wild Creek Cove, but it is only accessible on foot. There is some parking available near the trailhead areas.

“It is so nice back there in the trails,” Holmes said.

She does warn that hiking trails are not for picnicking. There are no bathrooms and no trash cans along the trails. It is also a no swimming area.

“Wildcreek is a sensitive area,” she said. “It’s fresh water coming in. We don’t want to destroy that area.”

The water comes into the creek from a drinking water reservoir, so it is very clean and the park wants to keep it that way to help protect the fish and plant life.

Of course, if the trail parking lot is full, then try another park. Don’t park where there isn’t parking provided.

During the week, the beach at Beltzville State Park is pretty sparse. But if swimming is on the agenda for the hot weekend, then plan to arrive early before the parking lot fills up. See a video at tnonline.com of the crowded beach last week. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS